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Water Conservation & Water Use Efficiency Rule (CR10-060)

Most Recent Action


Final Rulemaking Order Filed, November 10, 2010




This rule is one of seven rules that the DNR is promulgating to implement the legislation that ratified the Great Lakes Compact in Wisconsin, 2007 Wisconsin Act 227. The other rules include Water Use Fees for the Great Lakes BasinWater Use Registration and ReportingWater Supply Service Area Planning; Water Loss and Consumptive Use; Water Use Permitting; and Water Use Public Participation.


The purpose of this particular rule is to establish mandatory water conservation and efficiency measures for certain types of large water withdrawals, and to promote voluntary water conservation for all water users.




Sections 281.346(4)(g) and 281.346(8), Stats., direct the DNR to promulgate rules to establish water conservation and efficiency measures.


Section 281.35(10)(b), Stats., authorizes the DNR to promulgate rules for implementing the water loss approval program.




The rule applies water conservation and efficiency requirements to facilities located within the Great Lakes Basin, as well as large users on a statewide basis. There are three separate “tiers” of water users under the rule, with each tier facing varied regulatory requirements. The level of water conservation and efficiency requirements are increased from Tier 1, to Tier 2, to Tier 3.

Tier 1: Applies to new or increased withdrawals in the Great Lakes Basin that average 100,000 gallons per day (gpd) or more in any 30-day period, but less than 1 million gpd for any 30 consecutive days.

Tier 2: Applies to new or increased withdrawals in the Great Lakes Basin greater than 1 million gpd or more for any 30 consecutive days.

Tier 3: Applies to new or increased diversions from the Basin or statewide withdrawals with a water loss of 2 million gpd or more in a 30-day period.


All facilities covered by the rule in Tiers 1-3 are required to submit a water conservation plan to the DNR, and meet sector-specific (there are seven water use sectors defined in the rule) conservation efficiency measures (CEM) related to (1) water use audits; (2) leak detection & repair programs; (3) information & education outreach; and (4) source measurement. These four mandatory CEMs have been determined to be cost-effective and environmentally sound and economically feasible for all water use sectors.


Facilities in Tier 2 and Tier 3 face additional sector-specific CEMs prescribed in the rule. The rule sets forth procedures to implement the additional CEMs, and establishes requirements to conduct an analysis to determine if the CEMs are environmentally sound and economically feasible.


Additional Information




The Senate Committee on the Environment and the Assembly Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on September 29th, 2010.


This rule was adopted at the August 10 Natural Resources Board meeting.


Public hearings were held on this rule and related rules on June 28, 29, 30, 2010.


Comments were accepted until July 7, 2010.


The DNR Water Use Rules website


Great Lakes Basin Map


Related Documents


Statement of Scope


Initial Proposed Rulemaking Order


Fiscal Estimate


Report to Clearinghouse


Final Proposed Rulemaking Order


Final Rulemaking Order Filed, November 10, 2010